KINGSVILLE, Mo. – A standing-room-only crowd packed the barn to bid on 131 Show-Me-Select replacement heifers at the Kingsville Livestock Auction, Saturday, Nov. 27. Average price was $1,435.

With rapid bidding, top-selling heifers went for $1,600. They were in six lots with 18 head of Simmental-crossbred heifers consigned by Crooks Farm of Leeton, Mo.

Bob Nuelle, Higginsville, Mo., had two top lots that sold for an average of $1,550. They were Angus-cross heifers. All heifers sold were part of the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program started by University of Missouri Extension in 1997. All are bred to high-scoring proven sires with calving-ease and carcass qualifications. All were pregnancy-checked and guaranteed to be with calf for 30 days after the sale.

A week earlier, at the first of five Show-Me-Select sales to be held this fall, 355 heifers averaged $1,273 at Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage Mo. Top price of $1,500 each went to 23 heifers from three consignors. Since there is not a Show-Me-Select sale in south-central Ozarks, heifers from that region went to the southwest sale. Buyers were from as far away as Dalhart, Texas, said Eldon Cole, MU Extension livestock specialist, Mount Vernon, Mo.

At the Kingsville sale, David Hoffman, MU Extension livestock specialist, Harrisonville, Mo., said he worked with producers since before the heifer breeding season. “These heifers will work for you and become good mama cows. They will have longevity in the herd.”

Expected calving dates are given on all heifers, especially those bred by artificial insemination. At the Kingsville sale, both Crooks Farm and Nuelle Farm have been long-term participants in the MU Extension heifer-development program and sale.

“The sale shows that management and proven genetic background adds value to heifers,” said David Patterson, MU Extension beef reproduction specialist.

“The sale shows how quickly a beef herd can be upgraded by using top sires in the breed with proven high-accuracy EPDs (Expected Progeny Differences),” said Patterson, who brought the heifer-development plan to Missouri.

Regional extension livestock specialists work with the producers starting at weaning time. Herds can be enrolled in the value-added program starting in January for the fall sales next year. Surveys of buyers show they like the lower death rate and reduced labor at calving time. Using calving-ease sires boosts success. Anticipated calving dates allow more attention at birth. All heifers are given pelvic exams before breeding season to measure reproductive tract score and pelvic openings. Heifers that cannot successfully have a calf are culled at that time. The first criterion for sire selection is calving ease, then carcass, weaning weight or other needed characteristics can be added. On sale day, market graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture check the heifers upon arrival at the auction barn. Those not meeting requirements are sent home. All heifers qualified for the sale wear a black and gold ear tag with the trademarked SMS logo.

Information on heifer genetics is included in a sale catalog handed out on sale day. The catalog provides value-added information.

Long-term producers now sell Tier Two heifers, offspring of high-accuracy, proven AI sires. More producers are retaining ownership of the heifer’s steer mates to obtain cutout data to show the carcass premiums.

Three more sales will be held:

Dec. 4, Fruitland, Mo, 1 p.m. Call Roger Eakins, 573-243-3581.
Dec. 4, Green City, Mo., 1 p.m. Call Chris Zumbrunnen, 660-265-4541.
Dec. 11, Palmyra, Mo., 12:30 p.m. Call Al Kennett, 573-985-3911.
Information on the sales can be obtained on the SMS website at agebb.missouri.edu/select.